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Anyone who saw “The Silence of the Lambs” and remembers the main character, Hannibal Lecter, can start to tremble.

That character exists in real life. His name is Robert Maudsley and he inspired them to create that ruthless killer on the big screen.

Maudsley has been locked in an underground glass cage under Wakefield Prison in England for 40 years. He will never be released.

His danger is so great that the English authorities created a special cell for him:

A glass cage, similar to Hannibal Lecter’s in the movie. It is barely 5.5 meters long and 4.5 meters wide. With huge bulletproof windows where he is watched 23 hours a day by armed guards.

The remaining hour goes out to a patio to exercise, accompanied by 6 armed guards and without another prisoner in the place.

How is this armored prison?

There is only a table and chair made of compressed cardboard and the toilet and sink hermetically fixed to the floor.

Maudsley’s bed is made of concrete and the door is made of solid steel. The cage is surrounded by thick transparent acrylic panels and has only a small opening through which the guards pass food.

Tragic childhood, drugs and prostitution

What did this ferocious criminal do to be the most guarded killer on the planet?

Maudsley was born in Toxteth, a town near Liverpool in June 1953. His parents abandoned him at birth and he ended up in a Catholic orphanage on Merseyside along with three of his 11 siblings. But when he was 8 years old, his parents, to collect child support insurance, took them home. A hell.

Cocaine addicted mother and alcoholic father. That was the greatest torment of her. The man abused the boy and subjected him to brutal beatings. To the point of ending up locking him in a room.

When grown up I would declare:

“What I remember most about those moments were the beatings. I was once locked in my room for six months. My father only opened the door to hit me and rape me. I think he did it between four and six times a day. He once he broke an air rifle in my back”.

At the age of 16, he was taken to a juvenile center. He had grown up and his father was afraid that he would kill him after all the torture he had inflicted on him. There, the future criminal became addicted to cocaine and marijuana. And in order to get the drug he dedicated himself to prostitution.

Three times he tried to commit suicide and told the psychologists who treated him that he heard voices with a single message: “you have to kill your parents”. His parents were saved. Others don’t.

his crimes

At age 21, he arranged with a pedophile, John Farrel, to have sex. When he showed her photos of children he had abused, she Maudsley was transformed. She got tired of hitting him and ended up strangling him. They caught him.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder and the psychological tests were unanimous: “he should never be released. If they do he will kill again and again.”

Maudsley was declared unfit to stand trial due to a suspected psychosis at the time of the murder and ended up in the high-security Broadmoor psychiatric hospital.

A couple of years in that place made his psychic problems worsen. In 1977, accompanied by another inmate, David Cheeseman, who was convicted of pedophilia, was locked up in his cell.

For nine hours they tortured him with the most heinous methods. It was his second murder and they couldn’t keep him there anymore. He had to be moved to a safer place.

That place was Wakefield, called the “monster mansion” because all of its detainees were the most dangerous murderers in England.

But nobody could with Wakefield anymore. It was 1978 and his first victim at the scene was Salney Darwood, who was there convicted of torturing his wife.

Wakefield took him to his cell, beat his face to bits, then stabbed him about 90 times. He went looking for other prisoners to invite them to his cell and they all refused, until he found Bill Roberts, incarcerated for raping a 7-year-old girl.

Maudsley murdered him by sticking a spoon in his ear. She cut open his skull cap and ate part of the brain. From that moment he became “Hannibal, the cannibal.” With astonishing tranquility he approached a guard and told him: “tonight there will be two less at dinner”.

With four murders behind them and a thirst for more blood, the authorities began to build the cage where they would lock him up. And there he entered in 1983.

He is the Briton who has been in isolation the longest in the history of the United Kingdom and in that time he showed his passions:

“Classical music, reading, art and poetry. All copied for the Hannibal Lecter from the movie. And they copied something else: he has a much higher IQ than average.”

During these 40 years he requested several permits.

In 2000, he requested a reduction in the term that he had to be in isolation. It was rejected. In 2010 he asked for board games to play with the guards. It was rejected. He then asked for a parrot to talk to. It was rejected. And so countless times. All orders ended up in the trash can.

But he got something: a PlayStation 2 and in 2017, for his 64th birthday, he was given “Call of Duty”, a war game.

The horror it provokes is so great that during the first 12 years in its cage, no hairdresser in the United Kingdom wanted to go and cut its hair for fear that something would happen to them.

In 2003 his first statements that reached the public were known:

“The prison authorities see me as a problem, and their solution has been to put me in solitary confinement and throw away the key, bury me alive in a concrete coffin. They don’t care if I’m angry or bad. They don’t know the answer and they don’t care as long as they keep me out of sight and out of mind. They let me stagnate, vegetate and regress; face my lonely confrontation with people who have eyes but do not see and who have ears but do not hear, have mouths but do not speak. My life alone is a long period of uninterrupted depression.

The last known photo of Maudsley and taken in prison about 20 years ago.

And in the only and brief interview with the outside he expressed:

“If I had killed my parents in 1970, no one else would have died. I no longer have hope for anything, I have nothing to hope for. No officer is interested in me and they only worry that when they open the door I return to my cell as soon as possible. I think an officer might stop and talk for a bit, but they never do and it is in these thoughts that I spend most of my time. This is like going back to my childhood, to the room I was locked in for months and it haunts me.”

It will never breathe the free air again. For 40 years he has been dead in life. And he will go down in history as the prisoner who lived locked up underground. An eternal death penalty…

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